Williams F1 driver Alex Albon. Photo Supplied by Williams F1 Team

Formula 1 News: F1 driver silly-season now a ‘waiting game’

(GMM) Formula 1’s driver market silly-season has now becoming a “waiting game”.

Those are the words of Alex Albon, who despite being linked with several other teams decided to re-pledge his medium-term future to Williams this week.

“It seems like it’s a waiting game now and everyone is just postponing their decision,” he said at Imola. “But I’ve signed my contract and am focused on the future.”

It’s a particularly nervous time for Ferrari refugee Carlos Sainz, who is believed to be weighing up a potential one-year offer from Mercedes, or a much more lucrative and long-term offer from Audi-owned Sauber.

“The situation is that there is no progress,” Sainz told Spanish-speaking journalists at Imola. “Everything is pretty much at a standstill.

“I am waiting for all the options to be put on the table and then I’ll make the decision that suits me best.”

The 29-year-old denies Audi has given him a deadline – or that he’s also giving interested teams his own personal deadline.

“F1 doesn’t work like that,” Sainz insisted. “You can’t give every team a deadline.

“What I can tell you is that I’m talking to everyone, as I’ve always said, and from talking to everyone it doesn’t seem like the situation is clearing up.”

Related ArticleFormula 1 News: 2025 F1 ‘silly-season’ nearing boiling point

Even more nervous amid the current market standstill is Valtteri Bottas, who appears to be on the way out at Audi-owned Sauber. The Finn admitted at Imola that it’s not 100 percent certain that he’ll be in F1 at all in 2025.

“More than that,” Bottas laughed when asked if the percentage chance is 77 percent – his race number.

“I would say 99,” the 34-year-old added. “When you are free in the market, you always look around, and it’s been in several directions for a long time.

“Negotiations are still ongoing and I don’t think anything will happen anytime soon. I certainly don’t want to wait as long as the August break, but I’m not panicking yet.”

Reports suggest Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is happy to wait until as late as October for the situation at Red Bull to unfold and he might be able to snap up Max Verstappen.

“If it was my job, my role, I’d take Kimi Antonelli,” departing Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said at Imola. “But Carlos Sainz is also a great driver.”

Wolff personally manages 17-year-old Antonelli, but also the disaffected Alpine driver Esteban Ocon. “It seems to me that I am still a Mercedes junior,” the 27-year-old Frenchman said at Imola. “That has not changed since 2015.

“We communicate a lot and later we will decide what is best for my future. I would consider not only a long-term contract, but also a shorter one,” Ocon revealed.

Related ArticleF1 News: McLaren happy about low-profile ‘silly-season’ role

Elsewhere in pitlane, Ferrari-linked rookie Oliver Bearman is the hot favorite to replace Audi-bound Nico Hulkenberg, but Kevin Magnussen’s future at Haas is also uncertain.

“Of course I see this as my chance,” Bearman said at Imola. “But just because a spot is available doesn’t mean I’ll get it.”

Williams boss James Vowles, like most of the rest of the paddock, is also waiting for the situation to unfold a little more before deciding whether to retain Logan Sargeant in 2025.

“I’m currently considering three options for 2025 and 2026,” he admitted at Imola. “Logan has the necessary skills, but he needs to implement them.

“But this doesn’t prevent us from negotiating with other candidates, which is what we are doing.”

Last Updated May 16, 2024

2025 F1 Silly-Season Page
Team Engine No. Driver Nat. Rating Comments
Audi Sauber Ferrari 27 Nico Hulkenberg Germany Fact Signed
77 Valtteri Bottas Finland Strong Expected back
Alpine F1 Team Renault 31 Esteban Ocon France Strong Expected back
61 Jack Doohan Australia Speculation Waiting in the wings
Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes 14 Fernando Alonso Spain Fact Signed thru 2026
18 Lance Stroll Canada Fact Daddy owns the team
Ferrari Ferrari 16 Charles Leclerc Monaco Fact Signed thru 2028
44 Lewis Hamilton England Fact Signed thru 2026
Moneygram Haas F1 Team Ferrari 10 Pierre Gasly France Speculation Could replace Kevin Magnussen
38 Oliver Bearman England Strong Expected to replace Hulkenberg
McLaren F1 Team Mercedes 4 Lando Norris England Fact Signed
81 Oscar Piastri Australia Fact Signed
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Spain Strong Will replace Hamilton
63 George Russell England Fact Signed thru 2025
Red Bull Racing Honda 1 Max Verstappen Netherlands Fact Signed thru 2028
11 Sergio Perez Mexico Strong Expected back given recent performance
Visa Cash App RB Honda 22 Yuki Tsunoda Japan Strong Expected back
40 Liam Lawson Australia Strong Expected to replace struggling Ricciardo
Williams Racing Mercedes 23 Alex Albon Thailand Fact Signed
TBD Kimi Antonelli Italy Strong Expected to Replace Sargeant

 

 

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